Tuesday, April 7, 2015

REVIEW: 'Justified' - Ava Tries to Find a Way Out of Town While Raylan and Boyd Close In on Her in 'Collateral'

FX's Justified - Episode 6.12 "Collateral"

Raylan and Boyd's paths cross as they search for Ava in the mountains. Avery recruits an unlikely ally to his cause.

At the start of the season, Raylan posed the idea of just going to down to Boyd's bar and shooting him. That would allow him to move on to a better life in Florida with his daughter and give the marshals the opportunity to investigate other criminals. Boyd has been allowed to operate in Harlan County for too long. This season the marshals have been doing their best to finally arrest him on charges that will actually sentence him to jail for the rest of their life. Raylan has committed to the investigation and that's why he didn't further explore the option of killing Boyd. He wanted to give his colleagues the chance to do things the right way while also remaining as the man who best knows the evolving circumstances.

Killing Boyd is a personal vendetta. Up until this point, Raylan would only kill Boyd if Boyd provoked him or took a shot at him. Sure, that would mean the marshals did all this work for nothing. But it still has the outcome of Boyd no longer being an influence over this area. That option has increasingly started to look good to Raylan after everything that has happened with the case. Every marshal's job is on the line now. It's all because Ava shot Boyd and ran away with all the money. She was suppose to be working with the marshals and it turns out they severely mishandled the situation.

The series end game is all focused on the elaborate man hunts for Ava, Boyd and Raylan. So many parties are interested in that money and the outcome of the individuals involved in the field. Raylan needs to find the money and Ava in order to secure the case and allow everyone to keep their jobs. Boyd needs to unleash his anger at Ava for shooting him while getting the prize he worked so tirelessly to steal. Ava is just trying to run and escape all of this in order to potentially live a better life. Avery needs order restored in this community so he can go back to securing this land and its future like his plan was always intended to be.

At times, this episode feels simply like setting up things for the series finale. Wynn Duffy is making arrangements to make his own play for the money. Avery is securing a new partnership with Loretta while vowing to kill Wynn personally to Katherine's corpse. Constable Bob pops up again in order to be an added complication to Ava and Raylan in the mountains. Zachariah lures Boyd in just so he can get another chance of killing both of them - only for Boyd to once again, miraculously, survive. Ava escapes the law once to keep running from Boyd only to meet the law again and have to face the peril Avery has planned for her. And yet, enough big stuff happens in this episode that makes the emotional and grounded moments still work amazingly well.

All of it is centered around one of the final confrontations between Raylan and Boyd. The two men are both desperately searching the mountain for Ava and the money - as well as each other. They are both skilled men who know how to survive even when the situation gets more precarious. Boyd as a character has made a living out of being able to escape custody. Every time he gets himself arrested he finds some way to escape. That's one of the reasons why there's been the underlying idea that Boyd will much more likely be killed than live out the rest of his days in a prison. And yet, death has been hanging over Raylan as well. We saw a glimpse of what his future could be. That happiness was captured for a moment. And now, the future will likely be more complicated than that. He feels he needs to operate as a rogue agent right now. He believes it's his responsibility to bring Ava and Boyd in.

Without the badge though, Raylan is much more willing to engage in a shoot out with Boyd in the darkness of the mountain. Both of them are crafty characters who are able to survive this latest encounter. And yet, it's interesting to see this change within Raylan as he sees it as the only real way of actually stopping Boyd now. Of course, Raylan still has a strong moral code. Instead of focusing on killing Boyd, he attends to Bob's wounds. Raylan is always going to be a man of the law. Shootouts are a part of his nature but he also cares about the fellow agents around him. He stole Bob's car in order to get to the mountains and he feels the obligation to save Bob's life when he's bleeding out. That need to help others before himself is strong for a man of the law. And yet, it's also now the thing that gets him captured by his fellow officers. He maybe saved Bob's life and he turns around to get arrested. He doesn't have a willingness to go with them. He needs to go out and find Boyd and Ava before more death and destruction comes to Harlan County. He will keep fighting. But that end goal may no longer be possible for Raylan.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Collateral" was written by Chris Provenzano & VJ Boyd and directed by Michael Pressman.
  • Who gets Arlo's land has been a minor story throughout this season. It comes to a nice resolution here when Raylan decides just to hand it over to Cope the mountain man simply with his signature on a pad saying it can be so. No matter what the outcome is Raylan really doesn't have any further need for that land.
  • It is going to be so important in next week's finale that Boon likes to go for head shots and leaves the first chamber of his gun empty, right? If it's all leading up to one final quick draw match for Raylan, those minor details could be the thing between life and death.
  • I feel sad for the guy who wanted to be Loretta's boyfriend but simply got in too deep and didn't know what to do. Loretta and Boon's dynamic only works when it's just the two of them. Plus, this shows just how Boon operates when it comes to shooting.
  • AUSA Vasquez is more angry than usual because Art is hiding the fact that Raylan is a rogue agent. He fixes that problem so that other members of law enforcement are on the lookout as well. And yet, it does led to another great moment for Tim.
  • Boyd's interactions with the man whose truck he used in order to get to the mountains was just too awkward and unnecessary for me. He knows who he is but more important the audience knows who Boyd is.
  • Next week is the series finale. It came way too soon but this has been an incredible season of television. If Justified sticks the landing, Season 6 will probably be my favorite season of the show. I hope it does and I trust it will because so much of this final season has been phenomenal. I'm expecting a lot of complications and bloody deaths.